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Question DetailsAsked on 2/9/2016

Filling a 20,000 gallon pool with about 900cy of fill; best dirt to use?

I have an in-ground pool around 20,000 gallons that I want to fill in. What type of fill dirt should I use and where can I get a good price? To replace the liner and use the pool would cost around $4k, plus maintenance costs, whereas the fill dirt may cost more for compacting but is a one-off charge. I intend to cover with concrete patio once filled and packed. Looking for advice on costs and resources.

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You can find several prior questions about filling pools with answers on materials, removal or abandonment issues, need to provide drainage, regulatory issues, etc in the Home > Pools and Hot Tubs link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

HOWEVER - first lets fix an apparent fat finger problem - you say 20,000 gallon pool, which would be for instance a 15x30 pool averaging 6 feet deep - that yields 20,200 gallons so about your size. 20,000 gallons = 2674 cubic feet because there are 7.48 gallons per cubic foot. 2674 cubic feet is 99 cubic yards - there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. SO - you need about 100cy of compacted fill (maybe about 5-10 depending on truck size and on whether he brings a pup trailer with him also), NOT 900 - unless you want to build a heck of a sledding hill with the leftover. Actual delivered fill volume would be about 110-125cy (loose) to compact down to about 100cy in place - but the thing to do to avoid arguments about the amount delivered is just pay the contractor for the in-place compacted volume of the pool as a lump sum - then his problem to figure out how many truckloads of fill will be needed, plus you don't get into issues of underloaded trucks or actual truck capacity and such. Basic rule - whenever possible pay for the finished installed product, not by materials purchased or delivered.

Pay attention to the referenced Q&A issues about drainage, and also about settlement because even if compacted, it will still settle noticeably for several years - I would leave it at least a year after filling before putting a concrete patio over it to minimize the risk of differential settlement and cracking. You can do the patio immediately if you want, but in that case you would be a lot better off using structural fill for the entire fill volume, compacted to at least 90% modified proctor density as your specification, because with high compaction effort the settlement as it wets and dries and freezes and thaws (if applicable in your area) will be minimized.

For that quantity some Landscaping firms would do it, but generally you are looking for an Excavation contractor (your Search the List category) who has his own compaction equipment - possibly a very small vibratory roller he can lift into the pool with a bobcat or such, but most likely will use a hand-guided gas driven vibratory plate compactor, possibly supplemented around the edges with a jumping jack type.

Cost highly variable by area, but for a free-draining compacted general fill, probably a sandy gravel for your use but crushed rock is even better if the cheaper local material, as you would need the highest grade of structural crushed stone only if putting a building on it, likely in the ballpark of $10-20/cy compacted in-place depending on local costs - so a thousand or two $ rough ballpark. More in areas where fill is not locally available, or if slow hauling through city traffic or such, or in an area where load/bridge limits prohibit using large or full truckloads.

Be sure he does not dump junk on you - construction or demolition or land clearing debris, fuel contaminated soil, mud or silty soil or material with cobbles or boulders in it, etc. For your use should probably be 3" minus material and certainly not over 6" at a maximum - and for the top foot or so probably 1" or 3/4" minus driveway base crushed material for under the patio slab - which the concrete contractor could then relevel and recompact before placing the concrete if it sits a year or so before the concreting.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


OK - I spaced on that one - clearly not a fat finger - looks like you divided cubic feet by 3 to get cubic yards, not 27 as needed for cubic yards, so came out high by a factor of three. ANyway - I think you see tht you need about 100cy in place, not 900. (Cubic yard is a yard cubed volume - so 3x3x3 = 27 cubic feet).

One other thing I see - in second paragraph I said "maybe about 5-10 depending on truck size" - should have read "about 5-10 truckloads depending ..."

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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